Bowling Ball Beach, Mendocino, California

Bowling Ball Beach, just south of Mendocino, CA
Bowling Ball Beach is located approximately 30 miles south of Mendocino on the northern California coastline. The beach is characterized by dozens of round "bowling ball" like rocks that are visible and accessible at low tide. Bowling Ball Beach isn't on any maps, but you can get to it by driving on Highway 1 to mile marker 11.5, just 3 miles south of Point Arena.

When you arrive, look for a sign that says "Park facing south only." Park, and hike the northern trail head past the sign that says "DANGER" and "KEEP OUT," down the man-made staircase and down the log & metal rope ladder to the beach. You won't be able to see the bowling balls from the cliff -- walk south along the beach around the corner, and you'll see them in the suft. Be sure to check tide tables so you arrive at or near low tide. You'll be disappointed if you go during high tide.

Bowling Ball Beach is totally worth the trip, and you should check it out if you're headed to Mendocino. Adventurous photographers should bring a tripod and climb onto the rocks. You can easily put each leg of a tripod on a boulder for creative, slow-exposure photos. Unfortunately, low tide was a noon when I went, and because I didn't have a serious neutral density filter with me, I wasn't able to slow down the shutter enough.

My favorite image of Bowling Ball Beach was shot by David Burdeny. Since he has a Flash page that is impossible to link to, I'll instead link to a gallery site featuring his work.

[smugmug url="" imagecount="100" start="1" num="100" thumbsize="Th" link="lightbox" captions="true" sort="true" size="L"]